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 Accidental Cruiser in the West Indies

Down the Ditch
This journal is a log of all the messages from Susie & Lance. For pictures, please see the Gallery.

Ashley Marina, Charleston, SC 11.08.09

Motoring down the Ditch

Motoring down the Ditch

Remember: "we have no plan and we're sticking to it." Weather continues to divert us from our appointed path. We finally broke out of Hampton, convinced that we would not see suitable weather above Cape Hatteras until next spring. The alternative is to fire up the mighty Yamaha 9's and start motoring south on the Intra-Coastal Waterway, aka the ICW, aka "The Ditch". A long, interconnected set of canals, rivers, sloughs and marshes streaching down all the way to Florida, it once served as the east coast commercial highway for heavy freight. Pieces of it are old. The Dismal Swamp Canal was promoted by George Washington before he hit the big time. Pieces of it seem timeless. Stretches seem kind of Deliverance. Some of it is a more modern McSouthern style.

Buzzards on the roof

Buzzards on the roof





We've had quite a taste of the ICW/ It has gotten warmer as we get south but ... if the Chesapeake was about lighthouses, the ICW is about bridges. Waiting for them to open. Planning for the next bridge. Our path is a wet and misty maze which mostly follows the coast going more often west than south. Remember, Caribbean sailors hate going West as you must later pay by beating East into the easterly trades. Worse still, it seems to run North nearly as often as South, East nearly as often as West. Occasionally one can sail, but that is rare. Mostly, droning engines are the sound track to a dreamy, wet, flat landscape

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Chesapeake Bay Waterman

Shrimper on the ICW

Southern McMansions
McMansions on the ICW

. We initially hoped that the poor weather (a series of fronts blown by the jet stream exiting the East coast) would be largely confined to the Northeastern US and we might be able to sneak out across the Gulf Stream south of the dreaded Cape Hatteras ("Graveyard of Ships"). We entered the twisty maze in Norfolk, VA and hoped to exit at Beaufort and take up our high seas adventure from there. Not to be. At Beaufort, we were unable to even exit for a little coasting down to Charleston, SC let alone set out for Bermuda. Meanwhile, we got a call from the boat broker indicating that Eaux Vives was set to change hands on November 20th! We are delighted, of course, but it means we must get the boat put back together again and sail it up to St. Martin before the 20th. We fly out of Charleston for St. Lucia on the 10th. You probably won't hear much from us until next month as this is a pretty agressive schedule - prayers offered to the weather gods will meanwhile be much appreciated.

your eager-to-be-one-boat-owning sailors ,

Lance & Susie


Line up for ICW Bridge
Line-up for ICW Bridge
Another ICW Bridge
Another ICW Bridge
Osprey nest on daymark
Osprey nest on the Daymark

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